The Turtle Lover's Utopia

Huge Loggerhead Turtle? Huge MRI Brain Scan!

How do you find out why a 1.5-meter-long endangered sea turtle is having epileptic fits? The first step is to find an MRI machine big enough to accommodate her not-so-ladylike girth.

On June 25, “Snorkel,” a 68-kilogram loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), traveled more than 500 kilometers from her home at National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in Plymouth, England, to Cheltenham Imaging Center, home of one the country’s first open-bore MRI machines. These machines have larger openings than traditional MRI systems, which are too small for massive animals like loggerheads.

Snorkel, now in her mid-20s, has been experiencing seizures for the past five years. Vets have partially controlled the seizures with medication, but the cause has remained unknown. Her handlers suspected she might have cancer or a brain tumor. Snorkel is also mostly blind, has a deformed spine, and has troubles with buoyancy…

Read the whole story: Scientific American

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